Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Remembering Cesareo

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of the passing of Cesareo Pelaez, my friend and the leader of The LeGrand David Spectacular Magic Show on Beverly MA.. I was just about to put in the video of their  show that Cesareo gave me years ago, and that's when I remembered what day this was. Sure miss him and all my Beverly/LGD friends.

Update: I suppose that the above was hardly enough of a remembrance. It was more of a mention. Cesareo seems to creep up in conversations several times a week. I stay in touch with one of the members of the company so I often hear things about him that I didn't know. I suppose I'm reminded of Cesareo every day really because one of his costumes hangs in my office as well as a painting I did of him. On Sunday, I had the good fortune to show my friend Bobby a video of Cesareo performing the Floating Table, which was one of Cesareo's signature routines. I tried to win that table during the auction and sadly my final bid did not go through, and I lost it to someone else. That's not important though. What is important is the positive impact Cesareo had on my life and many others through his magic and teachings. He was a remarkable person.

Houdini's Birthday?


For years we have all celebrated March 24th, 1874 as Houdini's birthday, or more appropriately, Ehrich Weiss's birthday. Is this true? Houdini always said he was born April 6th. Hardeen stated the same thing. Walter Gibson and Dunninger also stated the same thing.

I just read an article that said one evening Dr. Leopold Weiss, Houdini's brother, was confronted at a party that had some magicians present. They asked him about the March 24th Birthday. The brother replied "That's nonsense! He was born in Appleton, April 6th!". This is the very same brother that Houdini stopped speaking too because he had married his brother Nathan's wife.

That article in question is by Bob Lund and was printed in the October 1971 issue of Linking Ring. The title of the article was 'Somewhere West of Budapest, Somewhere East of Appleton' starting on page 34. The craziest thing in the article is the reproduced letter from Gladys, Houdini's sister to Bess Houdini. In the letter she tells the story of a young infant boy named Ehrich who died in Budapest after taking a fall. And then she writes, "newborn children are named for the departed." So does this show that there were TWO EHRICH Weiss's? Harry being the second Ehrich? So he had two birthdates, two birthplaces and there were two of him?

It's late and that article was a lot to wrap my head around. For now I'll just wish Harry A Great Birthday!!!!! The rest of you go find the article in AskAlexander and read it for yourself.

UPDATE: Let me say, I do think Houdini was born March 24th (Today) but this article mentioned a lot of unusual things. I don't ever recall hearing the 'other Ehrich' story before but apparently it is mentioned in two previous biographies. It just goes to show that the more we learn of Houdini, the more fascinating he becomes. Happy Birthday Harry!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

'Houdini & Doyle' TV Show Just Announced


This is surprising and quite fascinating. I just read on broadcastingcable.com that Fox just picked up a 10 episode drama based on the lives of Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It will apparently be some sort of crime drama where the two investigate crimes of a supernatural nature. That should be interesting. Houdini says, "FAKE! Next!" and Doyle says, "Genuine Phenomenon if I ever saw it!" lol.

I hope it's a little better than a previous Houdini TV program. 


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Houdini's Death Certificate


I'm not sure if I've seen this before, but thanks to www.seekingmichigan.org it's online for all to see.
There are some interesting things on this document. First, his name is listed as Harry Houdini, not his real name Ehrich Weiss. Next, his profession is listed as 'ACTOR & LECTURER', not magician. His date of birth is April 6th, 1874 and his birthplace is Appleton Wisconsin. I'm going to have to go back into my records and see, but I wonder, did Houdini know of his real birthplace and date. I probably knew this and just don't remember.

Finally, Cause of Death are all the various things we have heard in the past: Diffuse Peritonitis, Streptococcic, Ruptured Appendix.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Alexander The Man Who Knows- Book Review


This is going to be a short book review. Why? I'll tell you at the end. But first, the book is called Alexander The Man Who Knows by David Charvet it's published by Mike Caveney's Magic Words and there are two editions. The book first came out in 2004, but shortly after the publication, a bunch of new information came to light. So Mike Caveney and David Charvet decided they would do a second edition after the first one sold out. In 2007, the second edition with updated information was published.

On the opening page there is a black and white photo of Claude Alexander Conlin, wearing a top hat, smoking a cigarette, and wearing a tuxedo. The text to his left reads:
Alexander
The Man Who Knows

Mindreader
Charlatan
Extortionist
Bootlegger
Bigamist
Murderer
Magician

What more do you need to know? The book is exceptionally well researched. It's filled with incredible photos and stories. It's an easy read and it's a highly entertaining read. This is actually the second time I've read the book. I had read the original 2004 edition shortly after it came out and loved it. I just got this newer edition, and loved it again.

I've often said that there are so many wonderful magicians who deserve to have their life stories turned into movies. Houdini has had this honor several times. Robert-Houdin should have a bio-pic, Harry Kellar, Howard Thurston, Max Malini, Chung Ling Soo, and without question Claude Alexander Conlin-The Man Who Knows.

In a previous post I had written that there had been a movie called "Eternally Yours" starring David Niven that was apparently based loosely upon the life of Alexander. I am not sure where I heard that bit of trivia, but I don't think it's true. So the time is ripe to have a movie about one of magics more colorful characters. Part con-man, part motivational speaker, part magician, Alexander was a fascinating individual.

Normally, I share a little bit more about the book, and in a previous Alexander post, I did tell more about his life but don't even click the link to the previous post (unless you're unable to get a copy of the book). Honestly, this book is so fascinating, just go out and buy it and read it. It's available through Mike Caveney's website.